A Top Tier Watercolorist

Woman with the Lamp (Glow of Hope) – S L Haldankar

Look at this painting…LOOK AT IT!

It’s watercolor!!

I never would have guessed that. I assumed it was oil. I just don’t associate this kind of color quality and depth with watercolor.

Apparently, Indian painter Sawlaram Lakshman Haldankar used watercolor because he was bad ass enough to do it.

Find out more about this masterpiece.

Do yourself a favor and look at this painting. Admire this man’s skill of a very difficult art medium and like this post if you’re as impressed as I am.

Taking a Hiatus from my Art and Blogs

The Texas winter storm hit me pretty hard. We’re ok . . . Just dealing with the aftermath.

We have a lot pipe damage. We thought it was just this one crack in the image, but after we fixed that we discovered so much more damage.

And when my grandmother lost electricity, she had to evacuate to the hospital.

So, I’ll just be taking a break from this blog, Sunny’s blog, and my photo blog.

If I get an opportunity to work on artwork and my blogs, I definitely will.

Chibi Drawing Practice

My interest in Chibi’s really got started when I was watching Hunter X Hunter with my boyfriend. I was slow to watching it because I thought it looked kinda lame. But I finally gave it a chance and it’s become one of my favorite anime’s. At the end of the episodes two of the characters show up in Chibi form and they’re SO CUTE!

I also love this style of conveying emotions. And now I wanna make my own! Below is some of my Chibi practice so far.

These next two are my most recent and I see a lot of improvement in them from when I started.

I don’t make their heads quite big enough, which throws everything off from there. They’re just SO CUTE! I love that one with his tongue sticking out. Who else watches Hunter X Hunter? Who’s your favorite characters?

I’ve also posted some snowy photography on my photo site, so go check that out.

Morgana’s Documentary Photography

Yay, my photography site is finally up. There’s only one gallery right now but I’ll be adding more throughout the year as I get them completed.

My First Photo Gallery

I decided to start with a gallery of Sunny, my dog. I’ve already made a lot of progress going through her photos for her blog, so it seemed like a good place to start.

I shoot the banal so some series you can expect to see will be:

  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Fans
  • Shoes
  • Cars
  • Bicycles
  • People’s Stuff

Stuff like that . . .

Thanks for checking it out and don’t forget to follow.

Athlete Figure Drawings

I’m a Dallas Cowboy’s fan. Sean Lee and Dez Bryant are two of my favorite players. And of course, I’m a Nadal and Djokovic fan. But the sports I enjoy most are the unique ones and the ones that showcase strength.

Some of my favorites are shot put, discus throw, power lifting, etc.

Warm Up Sketches

I’m sure he wouldn’t be happy about the weight cutting I gave him 😂.

This was harder to draw than I expected.

The One-Hand Reach

While searching for poses to draw, I discovered the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics. Have you ever heard of Knucking Hopping? Or Indian Stick Pull? They have all kinds of sports that showcase skill sets for survival and endurance. It’s cool stuff. Check it out. I chose this pose because I liked the overall triangular shape:

Frank Stelges Copyright 2015

I have a lot of mistakes . . . but progress is being made. Yay!

Some Tips to Remember

Figure drawing doesn’t have to be too intimidating.

  • Warm up with gesture sketches.
  • Break your image down into basic shapes.
  • Pay attention to your negative space.
  • Stand up periodically and look at your drawing from a distance.

And don’t get discouraged when you make mistakes, just pay attention to your problem areas and try again. For more tips.

Proko has a ton of free content on youTube that you should check out too. I found the Bean Method to be very helpful.

Figure Sketch of Nadal

I’m not really a tennis fan. I just like the matches between Rafa Nadal and Novac Djokovic. Many years ago when I discovered these athletes I became obsessed. I remember one morning waking up around 8 and I got so excited there was a match on.

It went on forever.

I needed to shower.

I needed to eat.

Finally around 1 there was a weather delay so I could quickly take care of those pesky needs. I’m happy if either player wins, but I root for Nadal. I love his athleticism and his sportsmanship. (I don’t think he’s ever pulled a McEnroe lol.)

I even read a book about him which was pretty interesting. He got a very bad injury at such a young age. But he’s still great.

I’ve been enjoying watching the Nadal and Djokovic matches lately. And I thought Nadal would be fun to draw since he’s ALL OVER THAT COURT. He’s also upped his game which I love.

Tennis – Monte Carlo Masters – Monaco, 13/04/2016. Rafael Nadal of Spain plays a shot to Aljaz Bedene of Britain. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Fun Fact: He has the date 4.13.16 on his shoes to commemorate Kobe Bryant’s last game before he retired. Federer did the same thing. Kobe is another favorite athlete of mine. I lived in Southern California when Kobe was just starting out and watched the Lakers with my dad. (My third word was Magic, btw. LOL sorry Kobe RIP)

I got a little off topic there. So, here’s my graphite sketch.

It’s not bad. Much better than my figure drawing attempts back in July. (So bad, I won’t be sharing those today or maybe EVER.) My measuring is a bit off but not by much. And I’m happy I managed to get the twists in his legs. That’s so hard to do.

I thought this pose was hard?! He’s got some way crazier poses for me to try. I could keep working on this one, but I think it’d be better to just start a new one, and maybe on bigger paper. Sometimes, I feel so cramped on small paper. I need lots of room . . . don’t fence me in lol.

Inktober is Almost Over – Two More Days!

I drew Nadal yesterday, and used his shoes to fulfill my Inktober requirements. I sure am ready for the end of this challenge. Today is ominous, and I have no idea what I wanna draw.

So, who’s your favorite tennis player?

Let me know in the comments and check out my Instagram feed to see all the Inktober drawings I’ve done. Check out the other artists on there too because there are some really cool and inspirational Inktober drawings.

Finding Inspiration in Portrait Painter Kehinde Wiley

Until recently, I never really noticed the official portraits of the president’s of the United States of America before. Did you know that former President Richard Nixon’s portrait was painted by Norman Rockwell? That’s actually pretty comical. You might recognize the name of painter, Chuck Close, who did the scary pixelated portrait of former President Bill Clinton.

FDR

Douglas Chandor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1945). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

And my favorite is the portrait of FDR, painted by Douglas Chandor. I like all the hands, the pencil drawing in the corner, the simple background, the rich depth of color, and how the suit was painted.

Portrait Painter Kehinde Wiley

The most recent presidential portrait of former President Barack Obama was painted by the talented Kehinde Wiley. I read an article on variety.com that said the background is made of foliage representing his Chicagoan, Hawaiian, and Kenyan roots. This colorful 7′ tall portrait made me curious about the artist.

obama

Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama (2018). Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery.

A Combo of High Renaissance, late French Rococo, and the 19th century

I looked him up and discovered some really impressive artwork. His skill shows that he has a lot of training. He often recreates artwork from historical master painters, and updates them according to the statements he wants to make. I like his version of Jacques-Louis David’s painting, Napoleon Crossing the Alps

acques_Louis_David nap on alps

Jacques-Louis David’s version

He used the same composition as the original but with a few changes. In a detail, you can see his humor represented through little sperm swimming around in the background. I love the clothes his random and anonymous subject is wearing. And the gold frame is so impressive. I would hang that in my house. 

While his statements are interesting, thought provoking, powerful, and contribute to the final look of his art; I’m really attracted to the visual part of his paintings. Just stare at the two paintings and study them for a while. 

framed wiley painting

Kehinde Wiley, Napoleon Leading the Army over the Alps, 2005, oil paint on canvas, 274.3 x 274.3 cm (108 x 108 in) (Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York) © Kehinde Wiley

His work is intricate, bold, strikingly colorful, powerful, and beautiful. He’s definitely a contemporary artist worth studying. He shows you how to be inspired by other artists and also how to make it your own. He started making strong statements through his artwork while studying at Yale. And he gets to go down in history as a portrait painter for an American President. Check out his confident self portrait of him in his studio at his website.

Controversy

As always in art and anything really, controversy follows Wiley’s portrait of the former President. I think that’s what makes art great though; it stirs up conversation and ideas.

What do you think about Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of Mr. Obama? The former President seemed to like it, and was his usual joking self poking fun at his ears and gray hair, while complimenting the integrity of the painter. 

How about that? Pretty sharp. – President Obama, upon viewing his portrait

My LOMO – Inspired Digital Photography Manifesto

I knew a photographer who loved shooting on her Holga toy camera. At the time, I wasn’t crazy about the idea of a toy camera, but her pictures always turned out really cool. A few years ago I purchased an Action Sampler.

action sampler

Action Sampler, photo from lomography.com

It takes four pictures per exposure. I carried it around for a while and shot pictures obeying The Ten Golden Rules, and the promises that are specific to the Action Sampler. I still need to finish my rolls of film and get them developed. Until that happens I have a burning desire to take the kind of low fidelity pictures you get with toy cameras.

Can LOMO be Digital?

A lot of my digital photos remind me of the pictures that you get from toy cameras. So, I’d like to work on an on – going series of pictures inspired by the LOMO – style. Both in camera and in post processing. With my DSLR and with my point and shoot. Any way that I can achieve the style is acceptable, with the goal of staying as close to true Lomography as possible. So, Let’s take a look at the 10 Golden rules.

The 10 Golden Rules of Lomography

1. Take your camera everywhere you go.

  • Not a problem. All photographers should make this a rule. The moment I leave home without it, I’ve missed picture opportunities.

2. Use it anytime, Day and Night.

  • Another easy one. Both day and night offer all kinds of different lighting and subject opportunities.

3. Lomography is not an interference in your life, but a part of your life.

  • Done. Photography is a part of my life.

4. Try to shoot from the hip.

  • A lot of toy cameras don’t have a viewfinder. So, it became popular to shoot from the hip. I do it sometimes. I also try to shoot from above, from the side, and upside down. Being open to any vantage point can produce interesting possibilities. But for Lomographic purposes, it’s gotta be from the hip.

5. Approach the objects of your Lomographic desire as closely as possible.

  • I often try to get close to my subjects. I might be able to get closer though.

6. Don’t think. (William Firebrace)

  • This one is hard. I can’t help but think. I’ve got a brain and I try to use it. But, this is a great rule to attempt to follow. If you don’t think, you just shoot, you’ll end up getting some cool surprise pictures that you wouldn’t get if you sat there thinking. Sometimes, you can think too much.

7. Be Fast.

  • Sometimes you gotta shoot fast or you’ll miss it. This world speeds by and everyone tends to rush through it. There’s a time and place for waiting for the decisive moment. Just like there’s a time and place for those quick pics.

8. You don’t have to know beforehand what you’ve captured on film.

  • This is inherent in film. You just don’t know what you’ve got until you’ve developed your film and spent time in the darkroom making test prints. You can also do this with digital. That little screen isn’t giving you an accurate view of your image anyway. Ignore the screen and the histogram and just shoot. The surprise is really fun when you’re checking out your shots later.

9.  And you don’t necessarily have to know afterwards either.

  • This is something inherent to Lomography. Often times, you’ll produce images that are abstract, blurry, out of focus, strange colors, etc. You might never know what that photo is of and that’s part of the beauty that attracts me to this type of photography.

10. Don’t worry about any rules.

  • Being a practiced photographer, some rules just get obeyed naturally. But I love the idea of letting go and just shooting. Forget rules. This ain’t Group F. 64.

Rules are Meant to be Broken

Since rule 10 says not to worry about rules, then I have the right and the responsibility to break the rules. Which means that shooting an analogue style of photography with a digital camera is a big rule breaker. I think that as long as I try to stick with the original idea of Lomography, which is basically experimental and creative, then I’ll be ok.

through windshield-2

Before – Through the Windshield

This picture reminds me of Lomography. I took it through the windshield of a car and I didn’t do anything to it. It’s straight from the camera. In the photo below, I adjusted the exposure and color temperature in Lightroom using the “auto” feature.

through windshield-3

After – Through the Windshield

I like them both and I think they qualify as LOMO – inspired Digital photos.

Have you ever shot on a toy camera, or have you ever made your own pinhole camera? Do you think that an inherently analogue style of photography can be created digitally and be taken seriously? I guess we will soon find out . . .

100 Days of Learning T-Shirt Art Project

My best friend is a grade school teacher and asked me to work on a school art project with her and her daughter. Of course, I’m always down for art. Her daughter is also an artist and we have a lot of fun making art together. We brainstormed for a couple of days and got a practice shirt out of the way, but I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.

100 days t shirt-1

Diamond

Finally the idea hit to use her kitten, Diamond. I recently took some pictures of her with plans to do a drawing so that was Puuuurrrr -fect. Haha, yea I went there. Based on the ideas we talked about during our brainstorming sessions, I came up with this design.

100 days t shirt-2

Shirt design and sketch of Diamond

Everyone loved the idea so we got to work. We planned on using those two butterflies but they didn’t make the cut. I put my drawing of Diamond under the shirt and traced it with a pencil. Then after I added the sun I got started adding the fabric paint.

100 days t shirt-3

My girl helping me out

I’ve never heard of this 100 days of learning thing, but I guess it’s something schools do when they hit 100 days in the school year. You have to use 100 things, so we glued a bunch of little diamonds.

100 days t shirt-4

Diamond posing with her shirt

There’s Diamond checking out her portrait. She was upset that I made her quit messing with the shirt and look at the camera.

My friend thought about saying something along the lines of “being brighter.” So it seemed appropriate to use lyrics from Rhianna’s song, “Diamonds“: Shine Bright Like a Diamond. It’s also consistent with her personality.

100 days t shirt-5

t-shirt drying

I forgot to take a picture of the finished shirt. We just added some more diamonds and the words “100 Days of Learning,” inside the sun and I wrote her name on the back. I also forgot to take a picture of the finished shirt I made for her mom. Haha, I was getting tired.

100 days t shirt-6

The teacher’s shirt

I added a bunch of yellow, orange, and blue lightning bolts all around the shirt to represent all the electricity from the brain power. It still needed something else though. My friend finally came up with a really good finishing touch: At the bottom I wrote in blue paint, “Leads to a Brighter Future.”

These shirts were a lot of fun to make and I love supporting art and education.

Mad Magazine and a Flemish Artist Named Bruegel the Elder

What Me Worry

mad mag-2

One of my favorite things to read growing up was Mad Magazine. I loved it because it was sarcastic and every page was jam packed with so many things to look at. I’d do my first read through and then I’d go back and meticulously look at all the details. I managed to get years of enjoyment from those magazines.

In college I was in an art history class focusing on the Renaissance period. I loved classes taught by this particular professor. She loved art and she lived in Italy and various other places where she studied art up close. She gave the class an assignment where we were given a partner and an artist and we had to prepare a lecture to share with the class.

mad mag-1-2

Getting Mooned

A Great Flemish Artist

I was assigned Pieter Bruegel the Elder. My first thought was this guy could have painted for Mad Mag. His paintings are full of crazy behavior, everyday life, tons of details, and a large depth of field. In his painting below, Netherlandish Proverb, you can see all kinds of crazy behavior and someone sticking their butt out the window, just like on the Mad cover.

netherlandish proverb

Getting Mooned from the window at top right portion of painting

It’s 39 degrees outside and overcast and my dog is expressing her primal need to hunt. It’s definitely feeling like winter. So, I thought I’d take a look at a Bruegel painting that’s so cold it will have me reaching for another blanket.

Hunters in the Snow 1565 

A wealthy tax collector named Niclaes Jonghelinch commissioned Bruegel to paint a landscape series of seasons of the year. You can see up close details of this painting and watch a short video about it at this website.

 

1. First, I notice the broken sign. Not a problem at the moment, but that thing could fall and some unlucky person is gonna have a pretty bad headache. Better get that fixed.

2. Next I notice the warmth from the fire and the hunched over positions of the people. They look so cold. The hunters and dogs in the foreground are all hunched over too. It doesn’t even look like they got very much on their hunt.

3. Bruegel did a good job of creating a composition that slowly leads the viewer around the image. My eyes go from the hunters down the slope, past the plant, and down to the little scene at the bottom right corner. I can barely see the tiny birds underneath the bridge where that person is carrying something across it. You can see a few more people doing their daily things.

4. We’ve pretty much just seen peasants working so far which is very common in Bruegel’s artwork. Right here we’ve got funner activities of people skating and playing.

5. The mountain peaks are my favorite part. This scene isn’t an exact replication of any real Flemish landscape. Bruegel was inspired by the Alps. I’m personally reminded of the famous Vasquez Rocks in Southern California.

6. The sky is so overcast that you don’t actually see any shadows being cast. At first I thought that there was light shining on the tree limbs, but I guess that’s actually snow. The snow pops off of the tree limbs really well and makes me notice the birds again.

7 and 8. I spend some time looking at the distant background and noticing all of the details that I can see.

1200px-Pieter_Bruegel_the_Elder_-_Hunters_in_the_Snow_(Winter)_-_Google_Art_Project

A look without the numbers

Well, I’m tired of being cold and frankly, I’m tired of staring at the details in this painting. Pieter Bruegel the Elder was a great painter and we can learn a lot and be entertained from studying his work . I hope you enjoyed his winter themed painting as much as I did.